A big hello to all of our friends, customers and all of you who are just starting to follow our blog about life on our smallholding on Anglesey. We hope that you are keeping safe and well. Hope our blog helps you pass the time………. xxxx
Just coming to the end of the first week of Coronavirus “lockdown” on Anglesey …….. Ron and I are hoping you are all keeping safe…. we are trying to keep busy ……. I’ve even cleaned some windows ! ……
Today, I am blogging about what we are up to during these tricky times. …. As I type, I can hear a reassuringly gentle, therapeutic clucking through the open window.
A couple of weeks ago, we bought six chickens – six warrens – another step towards self-sufficiency. “Come and get them !” Stuart, the farmer said, when we rang him up. When we arrived at Stuart’s farm, only six hens remained. He had bought in 200 and had totally sold out in a couple of weeks. He said that he could have sold twice as many.
Thinking about self-sufficiency …. and good food …..
After this difficult period is over, you might think about having a few chickens of your own You don’t have a smallholding or a huge field ………… but you do need to give chickens enough space to peck around. When Ron and had our first chickens, we lived in suburbia…… we only had a very small garden, so we bought three chickens. We bought a small hen house with a run.
The run wasn’t, in the end, big enough. The chickens pecked each other.
The second time Ron and I kept chickens was in 2013……. new to smallholding, it was our first step into keeping livestock ……. We started with around five hens ……. Stevie was my favourite ……. a tiny warren ………. named after Steve McQueen as she would always be first to make a great escape out of the henhouse. Pancake, a light Sussex, was also a favourite of mine. Keeping chickens became addictive….. at one point we had seventy …….
Book reviews ……………
If you are interested, here are a couple of books you can read………. it might help pass the time. At home, I have “The essential guide to enjoying and getting the best from chickens”…….. I don’t think it is in production now but there are some copies on Amazon…. here’s the link https://amzn.to/2WXXb7X
I like this book because it has a section on what you need to think about before keeping chickens …….. It talks to you about the space you need, the importance of hygiene ………. and the fact that hens can make good pets for children to look after…….. The chapters on housing and feeding are quite detailed but are an easy read … What makes this a great book for me is that it has a chapter which describes simple craft activities for children. The type of activities which my mother
used to try and get me interested in all those years ago ……. making egg cosies ………. decorating your eggs ………. making feather printed cards….. Just thinking about my efforts when I was a child has reminded me of the time I was in the girl guides (from which I was later banned – but that’s another story). There was an Easter Egg Painting Competition. I’d spent hours carefully painting my hard-boiled egg. (I paint like I cook – very badly). I went off to my friend’s house so that we could go to the Guides meeting together. At her house, I put my egg down on her couch …… and she sat on it…. that was the end of that…… and she won the competition with her egg !!
In this book, there are recipes, too…… meringues, hollandaise sauce…. little chocolate pots…… If you are home-schooling at the moment…… this book might be useful.
The other book that I would recommend it “Keeping Chickens for Dummies” I like this one because it gives you practical information about all aspects of keeping chickens… and it does talk about the different settings you can keep chickens in ie town and country……… It isn’t as colourful or as interestingly presented as my first book, but it is a book I dip in and out of for really important points, like chicken health. Here’s the link……… https://amzn.to/2WRJTJO
What’s Ron cooking this morning ???
Ron’s cooking a ratatouille today ! Going to freeze it for another day !
I just love veggie food ………. and this is one Ron enjoys making for us to eat with either a cauliflower or beef steak…… To make ratatouille a la Ron, slice aubergines and courgettes. Fry in small batches with a little oil until coloured. Put to one side. Sweat onions and garlic.
Then add tomatoes and cook together until the tomatoes start to release some liquid. Combine together in a large dish, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. Add in a bunch of fresh mixed herbs.
Layer up the vegetables and the herbs. Cover. Cook slowly 140 degrees C for approximately one hour.
Go on, if you have some veggies at home…….. just get cooking.
Please email or FB post any photos of your cooking………… let’s get Britain cooking.
PS Don’t forget to watch our own Anglesey chef on Ready, Steady, Cook……….. Ellis Barrie !
Take care, we’ll blog again in the next day or so.
Margaret and Ron xxx
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